If Google-owned Nest’s announcement yesterday that it was buying Dropcam for $555 million caused some surprise, today’s announcement that it is opening up its platform to third-party developers, while not as in-you-face as the Dropcam deal, could have significantly more long-term effects.
Dropcam extended Google’s reach into the home through Nest. But opening the Nest platform looks like Google is aiming to corner the smart home market even if there are already some seriously heavy hitters like Apple or Samsung operating there, too.
Google is already able to connect appliances from Whirlpool, cars from Mercedes-Benz, remote controls from Logite, and if it needs to be said, Google apps with household appliances.
If this sounds familiar, it should be. We’ve been talking about it for the past two years under many different names, but to all intents and purposes this is the first major salvo in the battle for dominance of the Internet of Things (IoT).
There are already a number of vendors and developers working away in the background to ensure their stake in the trillion-dollar IoT market so competition is starting to really get tough.
IBM has already developed a strong presence across the urban landscape, which it calls ‘Smarter Cities’ and which is as close as you can get to an IoT for civic and federal organizations.
With this announcement, Google is nailing its colors to the mast and pulling some of the world’s really big corporations along with it.
Nest Developer Program
Today's announcement puts in place the Nest Developer Program. According to a statement from Nest, the program has the potential to pull together 5,000 developers who are interested in creating “meaningful interactions” among Nest’s products and other products.
It is important to note the “potential” in this announcement because as yet Nest has only said that these developers have shown an interest in collaborating so we don’t know the exact number of developers that will be involved yet.
This is more than just pulling a few devices together. According to Nest, the developer program covers everything from lighting appliances to fitness bands and even cars. Matt Rogers, Nest’s founder and head of Engineering said in a blog post:
What we’re doing is making it possible for your Nest devices to securely interact with the things you already use every day. Things like lights, appliances, fitness bands and even cars. Because when we make connections between these different parts of your life, we can create personalized experiences that do even more to keep you comfortable and safe. And help you save energy around the house. Automatically."
He also announced that Nest has set up a fund for any developer with a great idea. The fund is being overseen by Google Ventures and fund managers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Apps that are already working with Nest integrations and which are available already include:
- IFTTT : Create your own connections with one simple statement: “If This Then That.” For example, “If my Nest Protect detects smoke, then send a text message to my neighbors.”
- Jawbone: It knows what temperature you like in your home and heats it up accordingly depending on when you sleep and when you wake.
- LIFX: Controls lighting in the house and also warns of elevated levels of smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) levels.
- Logitech: The Logitech Harmony Ultimate universal remote can dim your lights, turn on your TV and start a movie.
- Mercedes-Benz: Your car connects with your home and tells it to start heating or cooling the house so it will be the right temperature at exactly the right time.
- Whirlpool: If your Nest Thermostat notices you’re away, it can have your Whirlpool washer and dryer keep clothes fresh and wrinkle-free when the cycle ends.
Later this year Google will be releasing an app that sets the temperature of the house through a simple vocal command along the lines of “OK Google. Set Nest to 75 degrees,” and your Nest Thermostat will do as you say.